Are you boiling corn on the cob the right way? This Sweet Boiled Corn produces a cooked-to-perfection boiled corn texture: slightly firm and not mushy!

If you’re a regular reader you know that simple sides are my jam, and this sweet boiled corn recipe is exactly that. Don’t get me wrong, I love a basic steamed or boiled vegetable, but sometimes we have to jazz things up a bit! For another delicious corn recipe, try my Honey Butter Skillet Corn!

Perfectly boiled corn on a white plate with a bowl of butter in the background.

Growing up, my dad had a wonderful — albeit very large — garden. I most likely took all the fresh vegetables for granted, but one thing I’ll never forget is all the fresh corn we would harvest! My dad would pick some ears of corn for dinner, and we’d boil or steam them for dinner. 

Obviously, you can’t go wrong with homegrown boiled corn, but we never did anything special or fancy with our vegetables. Man, did we miss out!

This corn recipe is not your average boiled corn. By adding three simple ingredients to the water, we can bring perfectly boiled corn to a whole new level.

Just add some sugar, lemon juice and salt, and it’s the perfect, subtle sweetness! Simply add the corn to the boiling sweet water, turn off the heat, and let sit for 8-10 minutes. Voilà! Just like magic you have the BEST boiled corn, crisp and not mushy. 

I know what you are probably thinking. “Lemon juice and sugar with my corn?” But, trust me! You can’t really taste the distinct lemon and sugar flavor. It mostly just brings out the sweetness of the corn, and produces a cooked-to-perfection texture: slightly firm and not mushy. 


Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

Ingredients used to make sweet boiled corn (or how to boil corn): husked raw corn on the cob, sugar, lemon juice, and salt.
  • Ears of corn – I used 6. You can use more or less, just adjust the sugar, lemon juice, and salt proportions accordingly.
  • Granulated sugar – boiling corn in slightly sweetened water brings out the pure sweetness of the corn.
  • Lemon juice – preferably fresh lemon juice, but if you don’t have any on hand lemon juice concentrate will do.
  • Salt – not too much, a little goes a long way. The salt enhances the flavors of the corn.

How to make Sweet Boiled Corn

  1. Boil water in a large pot.
  2. Stir in the sugar, lemon juice, and salt.
  3. Add the husked corn to the boiling water.
  4. Bring back to a boil.
  5. Cover the pot with a lid.
  6. Turn off the heat and cook corn for 8-10 minutes or until tender.
A single corn on the cob with the husks still on it, minus the front strip which has been removed to expose the yellow corn inside.

How long to boil corn on the cob?

The question everyone asks! The secret? 8-10 minutes.

But here’s the catch, and as noted above, you will place the corn in the boiling water and bring the water back to a boil (the water temperature will go down when the corn is placed in the pot).

Once boiling cover the pot with a lid and turn off the heat. Let the corn sit for 8-10 minutes or until tender.

How to boil corn perfectly, showing six cooked corns on a plate.

Look at that. You did it!

Now that you’re a pro, share your newfound boiling-corn-success with your friends and neighbors!

The great news is you don’t have to add butter to your corn at the end! Except — I love butter on all my vegetables (see my buttered vegetables post), so sometimes I just butter it anyway. Enjoy!

Do you have leftover corn? Use it to make ham and corn chowder!

More Vegetable Sides

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Sweet Boiled Corn on a white plate.
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5 from 14 votes

Sweet Boiled Corn

Perfectly boiled corn! Showing you how to boil corn and how long to boil corn for!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 6 servings


  • 6 ears corn - husked
  • 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • Fill a pot full of water and bring it to boil. Stir in the sugar, lemon juice, and salt.
  • Place the corn into the boiling water. Let the water return to a boil. Once boiling again, cover with a lid and turn off the heat. Cook the corn for 8-10 minutes or until tender.  


Nutritional information is based on 1 serving. 


Calories: 93kcal (5%)Carbohydrates: 21g (7%)Protein: 3g (6%)Fat: 1g (2%)Saturated Fat: 1g (5%)Sodium: 401mg (17%)Potassium: 243mg (7%)Fiber: 2g (8%)Sugar: 10g (11%)Vitamin A: 168IU (3%)Vitamin C: 7mg (8%)Calcium: 2mgIron: 1mg (6%)
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
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